Friday, July 26, 2013


Hello everyone! Sorry for not writing last week - it's amazing how crazy things STILL are on our "day off". But we're blessed to be busy so we just keep moving! Sister Helsten actually reminds me of Dad sometimes. I don't think she knows the meaning of the word stop. You're sick? You've got 5 minutes to go to the bathroom and we're out the door! You're sad? Looks like we've got to talk so some people on the streets! You're tired? Do a few jumping jacks! ha ha, that's what life is like here. But it's good, because we have no time to think of ourselves. And I think that makes the work much easier to love.
I didn't get to write about it last week, but we had a baptism! Tamara, funniest little thing in the whole world. Her story is awesome - Sister Helsten found her when she was serving here a few months ago but she didn't have a phone number and wouldn't give her address, because of some sort of bad situation with her ex husband. Long, sad story. They taught her a few times and gave her a book of Mormon, and then she fell off the map. UNTIL we got here, and a member from our branch magically found her again. All the time in between, she had been reading and was totally ready when we asked her to be baptized. She is so humble and sweet and ready to listen and change and give up anything she has (which isn't much in the first place). I just love her. We took a picture with her the first night we met, and she said it was the first picture she's taken in 20 years. When we gave her a copy, she told us it was the first picture she's ever owned. She's the type of person that can only be described through the stories I have with her. She is 50, looks 35, and acts 15. She calls herself a hooligan all the time and she always calls me a lady. Says that I am going to be a leader someday (or a news broadcaster. SO me, right? I must have changed since being here, because these people see me so much different than I've ever considered myself.) Anyway, she was baptized and will soon be receiving a calling to play the piano for the branch! Which will be a huge blessing, because she'll be the first person here with musical abilities for a long time. She's trying to give e voice lessons, and she gave me a book full of Russian folk songs. Can't wait to bust that out after the mission :)
Also in the effort to work more with members (as you've probably noticed, I think this is becoming a world-wide focus) we started really focusing on a few part member families. We have been really blessed because the people here have been so prepared. Tons of ladies in our branch have husbands who have never wanted to listen, but somehow we've gotten in the door and begun teaching them. One man we taught named Viktor had his first ever missionary lesson, after his wife's 12 years of membership. When we were talking to him, we found out that he had quit drinking and smoking just the year before. Where has this man been?? Anyway, we bought his heart with a few quarters (he has the worlds coolest coin collection. Some of the oldest coins ever from all over the world. He really liked our quarters with the state pictures on the back) and we have really high hopes for him and his family. (Side note - being at their house felt so much like being at Grandma and Grandpas! The colors, the smell, the way they threw their hands at each others nonsense ha ha. Loved it. Make sure you tell Grandma and Grandpa I'm thinking of them!)
Another success story we've had is all thanks to Sister Lochhead. The new mission president's wife has been taking time to go on exchanges with the sisters and our experience with her was amazing! She has this incredible ability to show people love just through her presence. We visited a part member, part inactive family and she had them all in tear by the end of our visit. They made a goal to go through the temple together, and  we're currently working on a date to get the dad baptized! Our commitment was super simple - just to pray as a family every day - and it's amazing the difference it has already made. Just seeing them days later, you could tell how different their attitudes were, and how much stronger their relationship was. People are really changing their lives here for all of this. This is such an important work!
I don't really know what else to say. I feel like I'm changing, but I don't know how to really describe it. It's good though, I'm happier and healthier than I have been in a long time. I'm so grateful for the people that I've been meeting here and falling in love with. I'm grateful for the culture and the food and the land. I'm grateful for the experiences that tear me down and then build me up again. And I'm grateful for every one of you back home supporting me. I have definitely felt some serious prayer power coming from that side of the world this week. Thank you for remembering me and loving me! I love you all so much and appreciate you more than you know.
Thank you for everything!
Sister Willerth

No comments:

Post a Comment